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The principal farm colonies of Bohemians east of the Mississippi are in Wisconsin. No attempt was made to study the very old colonies in Wisconsin, and except in the Southwest no investigation was made west of the Mississippi. Detailed information was secured from the colonies found in New England. A colony in the vicinity of Petersburg, Va., was not studied. In Texas a general survey was made of 30 colonies or settlements visited by the Commission's agents and one small rural group in Missouri was studied. The 30 groups in Texas and the one in Missouri number approximately 3,344 farm families and 16,905 persons. The Connecticut settlements number about 60 families and 320 persons.
East of California, practically all the rural Portuguese are in southeastern New England. Detailed information was secured from one typical farm settlement of “white” Portuguese numbering about 60 families, engaged in potato growing in Rhode Island.
Almost every Japanese engaged in independent farming east of the Rocky Mountains was interviewed. They number 28 families or households, aggregating approximately 223 persons; the greater number are in Texas and the remainder are in Florida. Detailed accounts appear in the complete report. The condition of the few Japanese sugar-beet laborers in Wisconsin is noted in the report on seasonal laborers, but the most comprehensive account of Japanese is in the report on Japanese and other immigrant races in the Pacific Coast and Rocky Mountain States, in which section nearly all the Japanese immigrants are located.
Only two Slovak or chiefly Slovak settlements, one in Arkansas and one in Pennsylvania, could be found in the States visited, but Slovaks, Lithuanians, Hungarians, Russians, or Austrians in small numbers were discovered in six States, comprising in all about 164 families. The Commission secured representative data from two rural settlements of Belgians-one the very old settlement near Green Bay, Wis., including parts of three counties, and the other a small group near Alexandria, La.—and data were also secured from the old and very important settlement of German-Swiss in Green County, Wis., where farmers of the third generation, reckoning from the original settlers, are now operating dairy farms. However, no separate accounts of these colonies appear in the report.
a Japanese and Other Immigrant Races in the Pacific Coast and Rocky Mountain States. Reports of the Immigration Commission, vols. 23–25. (S. Doc. No. 633, pt. 25, 61st Cong., 2d sess.)
SCOPE OF INVESTIGATION.
The table following shows the approximate number of persons of specified racial origin in the different communities visited. The approximations were made partly from town records, partly from church registers, partly from published estimates or private censuses made by interested persons, and partly from a canvass made by agents of the Commission. The term "group” is elastic. In the case
“ of Poles it is synonymous with "parish”; the Hebrews employ a classification of their own by towns or colonies; for the Italians, “community," "colony," or "settlement” might be substituted for group."
The number of families is approximately correct, and refers, generally speaking, to farm families. The number of persons is probably not far wrong in the aggregate, but is for many reasons unreliable when considered by individual groups, since it was compiled from many unofficial sources. It was not the purpose of the Commission to take a census of the rural immigrants nor to make a quantitative study.
TABLE 1.-Scope of investigation. [The northern group includes Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. The southern group includes North Carolina, Tennessee, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. “Texas and Southwest" includes Texas, Arkansas, and Missouri.)
a Parishes, districts, colonies, or communities. Poles enumerated entirely by parishes. 0 Estimate in part from reports of Jewish Agricultural and Industrial Aid Society. c Estimate, 1901-1903. by Kruszka, Historya Polska w Ameryce, Vol. II. * Somewhat scattered.
PURPOSE OF INVESTIGATION.
Stated broadly, the object of the investigation is an inquiry into the extent, the racial character, and the economic, social, and political status of certain more or less recent immigrants in agriculture.
The extent of immigration to agricultural regions in the United States is dealt with in a general way only. The racial character of the immigrants includes an inquiry into the source and history of immigration to the locality and the previous history of the settlers. In general this is a "group" study. The determination of the economic status includes an individual inquiry into past and present material welfare, reasons for immigration, economic struggles after settlement, acquisition of land and other property, present possessions, and indebtedness. It includes an approximation of income from the farm and from other sources and in some detail the character of the agriculture and the products raised. The study aims also to make inquiry into transportation, markets and marketing facilities, and other matters touching the economics of agriculture, and to determine the material advancement of the immigrant since his settlement on the land, as measured by his property, income, and standard of living-educational and economic.
The social inquiry includes a study of the social institutions of the foreign community--churches, schools, and social organizations, the educational attainments and educational facilities of the foreigners, as well as literacy, assimilation, and social progress.
The political inquiry treats of citizenship and political interest and intelligence, and the effect of rural environment in developing each of these characteristics. In a large way the investigation purposed a study of the effect of the immigrant community on agriculture and agricultural wealth, both qualitatively and quantitatively; on the agricultural population; on the community institutions; on labor, the labor supply, and wages of labor; and the counter effect of the environing native rural population on the immigrants. Finally, to compare the condition of the rural immigrants with their previous condition abroad, with those of the same races in industries, and of other foreigners in agriculture, and of Americans and others in the same or neighboring communities, and to consider the progress, condition, Americanization, and outlook of the second generation, are the aims of the study. Not all of these purposes have been fulfilled in every instance, but taken together some data on each of these points are presented for every race considered.
METHOD OF INVESTIGATION.
STUDY BY RACE AND COMMUNITY GROUPS.
Unlike the plan pursued in the industrial studies, the agricultural inquiry is based on a study of rural race groups of greater or less extent, rather than a study by agricultural subindustries. The reasons for this departure from the usual method are simple and sufficient. The immigrants in agriculture in the East, South, and Middle West are usually grouped in more or less homogeneous colonies or settlements; frequently a community is composed entirely of one foreign race and perhaps some American farmers. Where two or more immigrant races are settled together, engaged in the same specialized agricultural industry, comparisons and contrasts are made; but in general the colony or race settlement is considered a distinct entity. The rural groups of foreigners are usually widely scattered, and hence the conditions of soil, climate, agriculture, and settlement are so different that a fair study by subindustry is impossible. The number of immigrants studied in any industry-for example, dairy farming-is so small compared with the total number of persons engaged in the industry that it is insignificant. Finally, because given soil, climate, and market location the farm community works out its own form of agriculture, and because natural conditions are so significant in the agricultural industry, the only satisfactory method of study seemed to be by immigrant rural groups.
The study is one of communities rather than of individuals. The individual farm was investigated, not primarily for its own sake, but as a community type. The rural community as a whole-its prosperity, progress, influence, institutions, tendencies—was the problem in view.
A third principle of investigation, maintained throughout, is that the study is not quantitative. It is a study of typical, representative farm families only. The quality of the farming rather than the number engaged in it, the average farm rather than the aggregate acreage, the mean farm income rather than the total of produce in a community, was the ideal aimed at.
At the outset the Commission found that there was very little available information regarding the location of immigrant colonies, and special blanks were prepared asking for information concerning the location, race, date of settlement, probable numerical size, and form of agriculture of immigrant rural settlements. A second blank called for similar information with regard to seasonal laborers. These blanks were sent to state commissioners of immigration, of agriculture, of labor, throughout the United States east of the Rocky Mountains, and to other officials likely to be informed on immigrant colonies. The returns were comparatively meager. Library references to immigrant races in agriculture in magazines, books, and official reports were sought out and verified, and government agents were appealed to for information. By these means and by a diligent searching of clues while in the field it is believed that a fairly complete list of foreign rural settlements in the East, the South, and the Middle West was secured.
The number of colonies visited has been discussed. The field work consisted of two parts: (1) The community study, or the gathering of data with regard to the soil, conditions, and form of agriculture; transportation and markets; institutions; property; standard of living; citizenship; and history of the community. These data were secured by observation, visitation, numerous interviews with public officials, business men, foreigners, churchmen, teachers, and others, and by the examination of official records, historical documents, tax lists, assessment rolls, court records, school and church reports and registers, records of vital statistics and of boards of health, reports of social and business organizations, freight shipments, and the like.
(2) In practically all cases in the North and Middle West, and frequently in the South, a number of schedules of individual farm families were secured by personal visits of agents of the Commission. The number of schedules secured in a locality varied from 5 to 60, depending somewhat on the size of the community.
The information secured by means of schedules is not altogether accurate, especially on matters of farm income, indebtedness, and accounts for supplies. Practically none of the farmers visited kept adequate accounts of income or expenditures, and family budgets showing cost of living were absolutely lacking. The data, however, were secured by expert schedule agents.
In the Southern States comparatively few schedules were taken, and the reports are based largely on a general study of the communities. Each of the communities was personally investigated, however, and the material presented in the reports was collected from original sources on the field. The number of schedules secured, by race, is shown in the table following. In all, 163 rural colonies or settlements, in 19 different States, representing 12 rather impo ant races, were visited. The number of heads of families from whom schedules were secured and tabulated is 875. In these 875 households were 5,017 persons, or 5.73 persons per household; 1,650 males and 1,337 females 14 years of age or over were enumerated. Table 2.-Households studied and number of persons for whom information was secured,
by race of head of household.
Race of head of household.
Number of households.
Number of persons 14 years of
age or over.
hold, Male. Female. Total.
Native-born of foreign father, by race of
Bohemian and Moravian..
Bobemian and Moravian..
11 25 115 117 205
5 61 134 662
689 1, 221
118 120 49
2 20 39 202 243 386 97 37 14
2 393 24 41
2 19 36 209 187 315 14 30 12
1 324 21 38
4 39 74 411 430 701 111 67 26
3 717 45 79 11 31
a For schedule forms see Abstracts of Reports of the Immigration Commission, Appendix A, vol. 2, pp. 651-727.